Thursday, February 20, 2014

Translators in Schools


Last year there was a lot on this blog about the Young Interpreters scheme in British schools. (To find it, enter hampshire in the Search box on the right.) Now news has come about a very different programme, also for British school children. Its name is Translators in Schools (TiS). In its own words:
Translators in Schools entails three increasingly focused stages of training:
A full day of workshops covering translation activities, lesson planning and classroom management
A half day involving a session with visiting schoolchildren based on a template introduced on the first training day
A period of mentoring for participants during which they adapt activities from the training, introduce their own original ideas and lead a translation workshop in a school while being mentored, observed and recorded by TiS mentors
Translators in Schools was run for the first time in November 2013, when 36 translators, language teachers and writers came together at the Free Word Centre in London for a day-long workshop that culminated in a panel discussion. [The participants included] Emma Langley (co-founder and Publisher at Phoenix Yard Books, an independent children’s publishing house and a Masters student in Education at Cambridge University), Vicky Macleroy (lecturer in secondary English with media and drama at Goldsmiths) and Canan Marasligil (a writer, literary translator, editor and screenwriter who was one of the two translators in residence at the Free Word Centre in 2013).
Day 2 took place at Europe House in January 2014, when 21 graduates of Day 1 worked in pairs to deliver mini-workshops to children from Granton Primary School, observed by Sarah Ardizzone and Sam Holmes.
Sarah is a published translator of children's books. Sam Holmes is a French teacher who also leads another school project called Translation Nation, about which I hope to write more later. There's support from the Stephen Spender Trust and the European Commission.
"Free Word works at the meeting point of literature, literacy and free expression as a catalyst for collaborations, nationally and internationally, that explore the transformative power of words. At our London hub, the Free Word Centre, we run a programme of events and exhibitions, and provide a home to six resident organisations and over 25 associates."
One of its Lines of Enquiry is The Power of Translation. It considers translating "as natural as breathing." Hear! Hear!

There are several Granton Primary Schools in the UK, but I had no difficulty identifying this one. It's in Southeast London.
Granton Primary is an ambitious school... The school educates over 490 pupils aged 3-11. The school serves a range of pupils that represent the [ethnic and linguistic] diversity of the local area. This is reflected in our rich and engaging creative curriculum.
So of course they would welcome an initiative like this.

The occasion of the notice I received is that the project wishes to recruit MA translation students to work in schools. MA students should, after their lower degree, already be Expert Translators. This would be an excellent opportunity for them to expand their translating horizon.

Plainly TiS takes a very different approach and has different objectives from Young Translators. The background of the people running it is in literature, or at any rate story-telling. Cultural instead of practical, and not an application of language brokering. (Perhaps story-telling too is intuitive from an early age - but that's another topic.) It's a good thing to recognise that children don't only enjoy translating for practical reasons.

Children who go through the programme should emerge at least as Native Translators. However, the information I've received is short on pupil selection criteria (if any), translation methods and outcomes. The best way to find out more would undoubtedly be to attend a TiS workshop, but they're out of range for me. So I'm writing to the organisers and will let you know.

References
The news about Translators in Schools came to me through the valuable service provided by Philippe Caignan, Vice-President of the Canadian Association of Translation Studies.

The Granton Primary School website is here.

The Free Word Cantre website Centre is here.

Image
Source: PEN

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